Quest Diagnostics Inc. Fourth Quarter Earnings Sneak Peek

S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) component Quest Diagnostics, Inc. (NYSE:DGX) will unveil its latest earnings on Tuesday, January 24, 2012. Quest Diagnostics provides diagnostic testing, information, and services to patients, physicians, and others.

Quest Diagnostics, Inc. Earnings Preview Cheat Sheet.

Wall St. Earnings Expectations: The average estimate of analysts is for profit of $1.06 per share, a rise of 8.2% from the company’s actual earnings for the same quarter a year ago. The average estimate is the same as three months ago. Between one and three months ago, the average estimate was unchanged. It also has not changed during the last month. Analysts are projecting profit to rise by 5.1% versus last year to $4.29.

Past Earnings Performance: The company topped forecasts last quarter after being in line with estimates the quarter prior. In the third quarter, it reported net income of $1.18 per share versus a mean estimate of $1.11. Two quarters ago, it reported profit of $1.12 per share.

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Wall St. Revenue Expectations: On average, analysts predict $1.86 billion in revenue this quarter, a rise of 2.2% from the year ago quarter. Analysts are forecasting total revenue of $7.49 billion for the year, a rise of 1.6% from last year’s revenue of $7.37 billion.

Analyst Ratings: Analysts seem relatively indifferent about Quest Diagnostics with 16 of 20 analysts surveyed maintaining a hold rating.

A Look Back: In the third quarter, profit fell 13.2% to $171.8 million ($1.07 a share) from $198.1 million ($1.13 a share) the year earlier, but exceeded analyst expectations. Revenue rose 2.2% to $1.91 billion from $1.86 billion.

Key Stats:

Revenue has gone up for three straight quarters. It rose 1.5% in the second quarter from the year earlier and 0.9% in the first quarter.

Competitors to Watch: Laboratory Corp. of America Hldgs. (NYSE:LH), Clarient, Inc. (NASDAQ:CLRT), Psychemedics Corp. (NASDAQ:PMD), Bio-Reference Laboratories, Inc. (NASDAQ:BRLI), MEDTOX Scientific, Inc. (NASDAQ:MTOX), Celera Corporation (NASDAQ:CRA), Enzo Biochem, Inc. (NYSE:ENZ), Orchid Cellmark, Inc. (NASDAQ:ORCH) and RadNet Inc. (NASDAQ:RDNT).

Stock Price Performance: During October 20, 2011 to January 18, 2012, the stock price had risen $8.62 (17.7%) from $48.66 to $57.28. The stock price saw one of its best stretches over the last year between October 5, 2011 and October 12, 2011 when shares rose for six-straight days, rising 3.8% (+$1.75) over that span. It saw one of its worst periods between August 15, 2011 and August 22, 2011 when shares fell for six-straight days, falling 6% (-$2.91) over that span.

(Company fundamentals by Xignite Financials. Earnings estimates provided by Zacks)

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